Education

Blog: Jan. 19 Wake County school board meeting

Posted January 19, 2010
Updated January 20, 2010

The following are updates from the Wake County Board of Education open meeting, which started at 3 p.m.

Jan. 19 school board meeting (Part 1)

10:10 p.m. – Board goes into closed session.

10:05 p.m. – Board discusses re-instating the community relations committee brought up earlier in the day. The committee of citizens would meet quarterly. The board unanimously approves to re-instate the committee.

9 p.m. – The board is discussing a legal contract to hire attorney Thomas Farr as interim legal counsel to prepare an audit in preparation for potential lawsuits related to the diversity policy. The contract would cost the district up to $50,000. The agenda item was removed from the board's last meeting agenda.

The motion out there is to accept the contract.

Hill wants to amend the resolution so as funds not exceed $50,000. The contract is for the purpose of performing an audit on the board's legal services. There would be no deviation on the rates and no charges could be rendered until a description of the scope of work and associated benchmarks is received by the board.

The board votes 5-4 against Hill's amendment.

After much discussion and talk of other amendments, the board finally approves the resolution to hire Farr for no more than $50,000 for the audit and no more than $25,000 to offer legal counsel, should the board need it.

8:20 p.m. – Sutton puts forth an amendment to change the phrase: "Beginning with the 2010-2011 school year, there will be no mandatory year-round assignments" to " "Beginning with the 2010-2011 school year, every effort will be made to eliminate mandatory year-round assignments …"

The board votes 5-3 supporting the amendment. For the first time, Debra Goldman does not vote with the block of newly elected board members.

The full resolution now reads:

"We strongly oppose the mandatory assignments of students to year-round calendar schools and support calendar choice for all families. Beginning with the 2010-2011 school year, every effort will be made to eliminate mandatory year-round assignments and to accommodate families into the calendar of their choice. This applies to year-round or traditional options, at a school within proximity of their residence. We will no longer deny calendar applications based on socio-economic status. We will use each and every seat efficiently."

The resolution passes.

7:50 p.m. –The board talks about changing the wording of board member Deborah Prickett's resolution, which reads:

"We strongly oppose the mandatory assignments of students to year-round calendar schools and support calendar choice for all families. Beginning with the 2010-2011 school year, there will be no mandatory year-round assignments. Every effort will be made to accommodate families into the calendar of their choice, whether it is year-round or traditional, at a school within proximity of their residence. We will no longer deny calendar applications based on socio-economic status. We will use each and every seat efficiently."

Kevin Hill and Keith Sutton put forth a motion to strike the phrase "there will be no mandatory year-round assignments" from the resolution the board voted on in its Jan. 5 meeting.

Hill says there's no guarantee of that, without knowing what the intended or unintended consequences would be. He says everyone agrees they will make every effort but they can't guarantee there will be no mandatory year-round assignments.

The board votes 5-4 against the amendment.

Dr. Anne McLaurin proposes an amendment to delete the sentence from the resolution that reads "We will no longer deny calendar applications based on socio-economic status."

Sutton seconds the motion.

The board votes 5-4 against the amendment.

8:20 p.m. – Sutton puts for an amendment to change the phrase: "Beginning with the 2010-2011 school year, there will be no mandatory year-round assignments" to " "Beginning with the 2010-2011 school year, every effort will be made to eliminate mandatory year-round assignments …"

The board votes 5-3 supporting the amendment. Debra Goldman votes against her newly elected members for the first time.

The full resolution now reads:

"We strongly oppose the mandatory assignments of students to year-round calendar schools and support calendar choice for all families. Beginning with the 2010-2011 school year, every effort will be made to eliminate mandatory year-round assignments and to accommodate families into the calendar of their choice. This applies to year-round or traditional options, at a school within proximity of their residence. We will no longer deny calendar applications based on socio-economic status. We will use each and every seat efficiently."

7 p.m. – The board is hearing a presentation on professional learning teams, in which teachers collaborate on ways to improve student achievement.

6:52 p.m. – The board has reconvened and is hearing a quarterly report on curriculum management. The specific recommended actions in the Curriculum Management Audit Report have served as a system wide “blueprint” for continuous improvement. The Superintendent’s Leadership Team members have direct responsibility for overseeing the implementation of the actions. Leadership Team members serve as Performance Goal Managers or Recommendation Managers.

6:12 p.m. – The school board recognizes students as part of the Spotlights on Students program. Spotlight on Students is a program that recognizes students for outstanding personal achievement. Schools have the opportunity to “spotlight” one of their students during a presentation to the board of education during one of its regular meetings.

5 p.m. – The board reconvenes after a short break to recognize 10 employees who received the school system's Employee Excellence Award for the month of January.

4 p.m. – Public comment for items on the agenda. Comments include those about year-round schools and the manner in which the board has conducted itself in meetings.

On year-round schools and diversity, student Lauren Fray says, "I don't understand how community schools will help increase graduation rates … The board hasn't presented any information on how community schools will help."

Others say they recognize the issues associated with bussing students – "there are problems and it tears up families, but we need to find some middle ground."

3:30 p.m. – Assistant Superintendent Chuck Dulaney shares the recommended process that staff will use to implement the new school calendar plan for voluntary year-round assignments.

Parents will receive a flier to be sent home by students the week of Feb. 1 informing them of their options. Students will take home a flier to be distributed the week of Feb. 1.

An online application to apply for school will go live online Feb. 8.

3 p.m. – The meeting begins a little late. Board member Keith Sutton is running late. The crowd this meeting is much smaller than the past two meetings.

Board chairman Ron Margiotta calls for the creation of a community relations committee that will meet quarterly. The charge of the committee will be decided soon. It would likely include things like what can make the school Web site more community friendly.

The following are updates from the Wake County Board of Education committee of the whole meeting, which is scheduled to run from 1 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.:

2:30 p.m. – There is discussion about surveying school staff on the matter of year-round schools and possible conversions. They are talking about the best method to do that.

The board identifies the following priorities when considering and developing recommendations about what to do with year-round schools:

  • Capacity lost or gained.
  • Impact on neighborhood schools
  • Parental choice
  • Impact of conversion on instructional program of school
  • Interest in year-round education
  • Staff interest based on Staff survey results

Proposal before the board: The public hearings, following the Feb. 16 recommendations, will focus on feedback on those recommendations made.

Tedesco proposes waiting on formal recommendations following all four hearings. That would put the staff making recommendations on March 2.

Staff recommendations for potential changes will be made March 2 so that all four public hearings will have been considered.

2 p.m. – Dulaney discusses the geographic distribution of year-round schools. All areas in Wake County have access to year-round schools. Some have easier access than others.

The number of people who wanted year-round schools that were denied placement were 884, Dulaney says.

1:15 p.m. – Assistant Superintendent Chuck Dulaney wants to know board recommendations to comply with the board's resolution to end mandatory year-round school assignments.

The resolution reads as follows:

"We strongly oppose the mandatory assignments of students to year-round calendar schools and support calendar choice for all families. Beginning with the 2010-2011 school year, there will be no mandatory year-round assignments. Every effort will be made to accommodate families into the calendar of their choice, whether it is year-round or traditional, at a school within proximity of their residence. We will no longer deny calendar applications based on socio-economic status. We will use each and every seat efficiently."

Dulaney says board members will receive data from the parents' survey on Feb. 2. Staff recommendations will be made on Feb. 16.

Some members are questioning whether any schools will be converted back to traditional schools. Board Chairman Ron Margiotta says there are no plans right now to do so – that could happen, however, after the survey results.

"That determination has not been made at this point in time," he says.

Board member Kevin Hill (District 3, north Raleigh), who wants to know why recommendations will be made on Feb. 16 when there will be three public hearings scheduled for Feb. 18, 23, and 25.

"Why have the public hearings if we're not going to consider them?" he asks.

Dulaney says decisions would be needed to made, at the latest, in March, if there are decisions to convert any school calendars. April would be "a no-go," he says.

Staff will make it work. The concern is the ability to make a smooth transition, Burns said.

The number of people who wanted year-round schools that were denied were approximately 880, Dulaney says.

One member wants to know what schools could be converted into a year-round school. Another member asks: Would it be better to wait until the 2011-2012 school year to make any changes? Is the school system prepared to make changes and have potentially have to convert schools to year-round so soon? 

1 p.m. – The school board meets for its fourth meeting since new members took office in December. Among the day's agenda items, school staff will share criteria for school-calendar change recommendations and present information showing the geographic distribution of year-round schools.

It's the first board meeting since Jan. 5, when members voted 5-4 to end mandatory year-round school assignments.

First off, the board hears about a parent survey regarding year-round schools and concerns revolving around it. Parents began responding to it last week, but there is a flaw in it that allows respondents to take the survey multiple times.

Once all surveys are complete – they are due back Jan. 25 – they will undergo a process referred to as scrubbing, which will clear out any fraudulent or duplicate entries. A first look at the data, so far, found less than 1 percent of entries are duplicates or fraudulent.

As of Tuesday morning, there have been about 21,300 respondents to the survey – about 21,000 in English; about 300 in Spanish.

142 Comments

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  • Garnerwolf1 Jan 21, 8:05 a.m.

    "Do you not want people to move here and help pay your taxes?"
    Absolutely Not!

  • injameswetrust2003 Jan 20, 8:12 a.m.

    "Debra Goldman votes against her newly elected members for the first time."

    WRAL's liberal bias rears its ugly head yet again. Did she really vote against "her" members (since she is the one who elected them) or is she voting "for" a policy?

    The blogger really needs to not take sides, isn't that what good news reporters do?

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Jan 19, 7:43 p.m.

    time4real: "Keep in mind, these surveys don't mean a thing, they just make you feel better!"

    So you're basically saying YOUR school board, that YOU elected, are doing what they want regardless of facts. Just validates what I expected out of them.

  • Mean Old Mom Jan 19, 7:31 p.m.

    Vouchers, Charter Schools and more occupational courses of study at the high schools is what is needed.

  • Mean Old Mom Jan 19, 7:29 p.m.

    some people are trying to live beyond their means, thus both parents have to work.
    cary1969

    Does that include teachers?

  • time4real Jan 19, 6:10 p.m.

    you can contact your school, if you care that much, anytime to get the info, but survey ends Monday. Keep in mind, these surveys don't mean a thing, they just make you feel better!

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Jan 19, 5:54 p.m.

    Again... So when do I get to vote in their poll about Year-Round School? I thought this was last week. I have two YR Middle School students and NEITHER had a letter to bring home. That, along with the programming glitch that allowed 100+ votes, how accurate IS the info they have? I'm sure its not even useable.

  • wondrfl1 Jan 19, 5:49 p.m.

    What is amazing to me is the number of people that spout information that is wrong. In reading many of the comments, I have seen bad information about both traditional and year-round. People making comments about teachers and how they need to care more about the children they teach. I believe that like any job there are people who do it just for the pay check. However, the majority of teachers are doing their job because they love it. Keep in mind, teachers all have a four year degree with an expected salary of about $50,000.00 a year after 20 years of teaching. They are only paid for 10 months and work an average of 60 to 70 hours a week both in and out of school. You people put your children's lives in the hands of these people very day, but you do not give them the respect that they deserve. I challenge all the people that have such great ideas (School Board and Governor included) to try teaching for a week. Let us know how it goes!!

  • time4real Jan 19, 5:35 p.m.

    "It's really sad to me that the diversity program that has been around for decades appears to be in danger."

    then get in with Barber and sue! diversity is a joke and so are those who support it!

  • time4real Jan 19, 5:35 p.m.

    "understand this"

    it's MY choice as a parent when I want time away from the gangs and drugs with MY kids! Unless you live near a ski slope I'll take summer time anytime over breaks here and there. Understand now? Probably not, some will never get it!

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